Author's note: : This chapter has specific spoilers for the episodes 'Soulless', 'Calvary', and 'Salvage'. Thanks to Aciel for all her encouragement, and thanks to Acai for her continuing beta work. Written September 2006.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Non consensual disciplinary spanking of an adult by a parent.
How it Should Have Been Chapter 11
Wo Pang stepped away from Angelus, who was strapped to a movable table, and waited by the cage door. Wesley said, "It's done?"
Wo Pang nodded. Wesley let him out of the cage and locked it back up. Angelus had been laughing, but now that he was alone in the cage he abruptly stopped. Connor looked at the glass jar that Wo Pang had left on the table, next to him. It was supposed to contain Angel's soul, but it looked empty. Connor looked at Wo Pang and said, "Is his soul in there?"
Wo Pang looked at the jar and said, "No."
Wesley glared at Wo Pang. "You assured me you could do this. Is it Angelus or not? And if it is Angelus where is Angel's soul?"
Wo Pang closed his eyes and chanted for a few seconds. He looked at Wesley and said, "His soul is in the between."
"The between?" Connor said with confusion.
Wo Pang explained, "The space between heaven and hell where the unattached and the undetermined go."
Gunn said, "Just great. Great plan Wes! Now Angel's gone along with his soul."
Wo Pang shook his head. "The soul is still viable. When you are ready, I will be able to put it back. You know how to get in touch with me"
Wo Pang went up the stairs and let himself out. Wesley said, "Angelus?"
Angelus kept his eyes on the ceiling and said, "I'm with Gunn. Great plan Wes. I'm not telling you squat until you unstrap me."
Wesley nodded and said, "Very well."
Wesley brought his gun up to his shoulder and shot Angelus twice in the chest with tranquilizer darts. Angelus didn't make a sound, but a few seconds later his eyes closed. Gunn asked, "Is he out? How can we tell for sure?"
Wesley said, "These tranquilizers are quite potent. One will generally put a normal vampire to sleep for about two hours, so two should leave him unconscious for three or four hours."
Wesley got the key to the cage and undid the lock. Then he stepped back and held the gun to his shoulder again and said, "Unstrap him Gunn. If he's not out, I'll make sure he is, before he can get you."
Connor said, "I'll do it. I have a better chance of fighting him if he isn't unconscious."
Gunn simply said, "No." and walked over to the cage.
He went in and undid all the straps while Connor crossed his arms and sulked. Once that was done Wesley said, "Connor go help Gunn lift Angelus and put him on the floor so that we can get the table out of there. We don't want him to have anything he can use to get himself free."
Connor nodded and went in too. They put Angelus on the floor and took the bed out. Once they were done, Wesley locked the cage back up. He turned to everyone and said, "We have a couple of hours to wait. I'll take the first watch, and in a couple of hours Gunn can relieve me. The rest of you can go back to researching the Beast."
Everyone besides Wesley headed up the stairs. On the way Gunn looked at Connor and said, "You can tutor with me for a couple of hours, and then when it's my turn to watch Angelus Lorne can tutor you."
Connor said, "We should be out there protecting people, keeping the slaughter down to a minimum."
Gunn shook his head and pointed to Connor's makeshift crutch. "If you were up to full strength, you and I would be headed out right now. But as it is, you're ankle is still injured from your last encounter with the Beast, and your ribs are still bruised. You need to spend as much of today resting as you can. That way when we really need you in the fight with the Beast you'll be at your strongest."
Connor didn't like it, but knew Gunn was right. He sighed and nodded once.
They all were upstairs now, and Fred turned to Julie and said, "Did you want to help me with the research again?"
Julie said, "Sure. Anything's better then waiting around for the creepy vampire to wake up."
Lorne went to monitor the phones and the news. Connor and Gunn went into Angel's office to do the tutoring so they could be close to the basement if they were needed. As they started, Gunn thought Connor seemed distracted. Gunn said, "Wanna talk about it?"
Connor looked out the door at Fred and Julie. Gunn took the hint and went to close the door. He sat back down and said, "Wanna talk about it now?"
Connor said, "Angel's a pretty nice guy right? I mean most people who meet him like him."
Gunn though this was an odd question. "Yeah I suppose. Why?"
"I don't understand why Julie hates him so much."
Gunn thought about it for a few minutes. "I think if she took the time to get to know him more she would come around. But she does seem kind of unreasonable about it. He's letting her stay here for her own good, and all she can do is give him a hard time."
Connor nodded and thought about it a little more. He said, "I don't want her down there when Angelus comes to. We should keep her away from him. She doesn't need even more reasons to hate him."
"I agree, and actually I've been thinking the same thing about you. Why don't you stay up here and keep her company when he wakes up."
Gunn gave Connor a warning look. Connor toned it down and said, "Please Gunn, I
I need to see him. I used to hate Angel, but I don't anymore, and I understand that Angel and Angelus are not the same person even if they share the same body. I've waited my whole life to meet Angelus, and hopefully I'll never get the chance again. Please let me come."
Connor hoped that Gunn would agree, because he planned to see Angelus whether Gunn agreed or not, but it would be nicer for everyone involved if Gunn said yes. Gunn sighed and said, "Okay, you can come, but I think you're gonna wish you hadn't."
"Thanks. What about Julie?"
Gunn thought about it for a few seconds. "I'll tell Lorne and Fred to keep her busy with something when Angelus wakes up. I know they don't want to be down there either."
Connor nodded in agreement.
It took Angelus four hours to wake up. Gunn and Wesley had taken turns watching him. Connor had done tutoring, and the rest of the team including Julie had done research. They had all just finished lunch when they heard Gunn yell from the basement stairs, "He's waking up."
Lorne turned to Julie and said, "I don't know about you, but I don't really want to meet the guy. What say you and me and Fred sit this one out?"
Julie looked at Connor to see what he thought. Connor said, "I think that's a good idea."
Fred said, "Yell if you guys need help."
Wesley and Connor went down to the basement with Gunn and shut the door behind them.
Angelus sat up and held his head for a second. He shook his head and looked around. He saw the three humans standing around the cage staring at him. He smirked at them and slowly stood up. He wiped the floor dust off his pants and shirt, and then leaned against the far wall of his cage. "A welcome party just for me? I'm touched."
Wesley said, "Tell us everything you know about the Beast."
"Now that's a lame start even by your standards Wes. Aren't you even gonna try to butter me up first?"
"I would be lying if I told you it wasn't a high point for me to meet you Angelus. I read everything ever written on you back when I was a watcher. But you know that already, so why don't we get to the point, and you can tell me what I need to know."
Angelus gave him a fake smile and said, "Why exactly do you think I'd tell you anything? I don't want the sun to come back, and if the Beast kills all of you, well I'd be a little disappointed not to be able to do it myself, but hey I'll get over it."
"If you don't give us something to work with, we'll just put your soul back. So the more you tell us, the longer you stay in control of your body. Seems like pretty good incentive to me."
Angelus turned to Gunn and said, "You can see how lame this plan is can't you Chuck? What do I get from the deal when I know you'll put my soul back either way?"
Gunn turned to Wes, "He has a point."
Angelus said, "I don't know what Angel was thinking leaving Wes in charge. Well actually do know what he was thinking."
Angelus turned to Wesley and said, "It's all about pity Wes. He knows Gunn would make a better leader. He knows Gunn is more trustworthy, and makes better choices. But Candy Ass Angel always needs to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You'd think after stealing Connor he would finally give up on you, but no. He has to give everyone a chance to redeem themselves and do the right thing, even when deep down he knows that they will always disappoint him."
Angelus turned to Connor for the first time and said, "Just like you son."
Connor glared, "Don't call me that. You're not my father."
"You're wrong about that son. Angel is just a skin I wear. I'm always there just under the surface. You think Angel was the one who slapped Darla around and raped her? He just let me out to play for a while. Doubt he'll be doing that again any time soon seeing as how you're the result."
Connor tried not to let this get to him and bluffed, "You'd better hope you don't get loose, because I'd enjoy killing you."
Angelus laughed long and loud. Once he caught his breath he said with amusement, "Oh Connor, you missed your calling, you should have been a stand up comedian. How exactly do you plan to kill me? With your track record, I'd be more likely to stake myself."
Angelus got more serious and said, "Darla staked herself because she couldn't stand the feeling of you squirming around inside her anymore. You made her sick."
Gunn broke in, "That's not true Connor. I was there, and Darla loved you. She sacrificed herself so you could live."
Angelus nodded, "Good job Chuck. Stick with the happy little story to keep Connor's feelings safe, which ultimately keeps him under control."
Angelus turned back to Connor and said, "How about Holtz? You were around for that one. He stabbed himself in the neck to get away from you."
Connor yelled, "You don't talk about my fath
Angelus smiled, pleased that he had gotten under Connor's skin. "That's right Holtz was your father for seventeen years, Steven. What would he think of you now? Would he be happy with what you've done with your life? Or would he think you're a weak pathetic boy who let him down?"
Connor looked away and said, "Holtz taught me many things that were false."
Angelus ignored this and continued, "Because I have to tell you that both Angel and I agree on that one. You are an embarrassment of a son."
Gunn wasn't able to stand the look of hurt on Connor's face and said, "That's it! Connor upstairs."
Angelus said, "What? Can't take the truth?"
Gunn spit out, "It's not the truth, it's a bunch of lies intended to make him feel bad."
"Right because you read minds and know what Angel is thinking."
Gunn turned to Connor who hadn't moved and said, "Upstairs."
Connor shook his head no not wanting to go, and Angelus laughed. "Good luck getting Connor to do what you want him to do with Angel gone. Better keep the tazer close by."
Gunn grabbed Connor's arm and started them walking towards the stairs. Connor let him. Gunn gave him a small shove to get him moving up the stairs and said, "Do as I say."
Connor looked over at Angelus once and then nodded and headed up the stairs. Angelus said, "See you soon son."
Once Connor was out of the room Angel turned to Wesley and said, "Does the little twerp give you the creeps too, or is it just me?"
Gunn was pretty sure Connor could still hear everything, and said, "I'll be right back Wes."
Gunn went into the lobby and saw Connor just standing there. Gunn put an arm around Connor's shoulders. He said, "Hey kiddo, you know you can't believe anything Angelus says."
Connor just nodded. Gunn gave him a quick hug and said, "Thank you for listening to me and going upstairs. Now I know your super ears can hear everything that goes on down in the basement when you're in the lobby, so I want you to go up to your room."
Connor pushed away and said, "But I
Gunn broke in, "No. He's hurting you Connor, and he's doing it on purpose. You go up and take Julie with you. I promise to get you if we get any information."
Connor took a few seconds to think it over and then nodded. He went over to Julie, who was more then ready to take a break from the research. As Gunn was about to go down, Wesley opened the basement door and said, "Angelus wants some blood."
Gunn looked at Fred. She said, "I'll bring some down."
Gunn nodded and went down with Wesley.
Angelus said, "What else have ya got up your sleeve Wes? Or is this your entire plan?"
Wesley said, "Do you remember the Beast from your past?"
"Why doesn't Angel?"
"Who knows. Who cares?"
"Tell me about the Beast."
Angelus turned to Gunn and said, "Where's my blood?"
"Coming. Tell us about the Beast."
"Slow witted big guy. A lot like you really, except I think he's actually trying to expand his horizons which is more then I can say for you. But hey, sticking to what you do best is gonna go a long way towards keeping you alive
. Well you know, longer then most once I get free."
Gunn said, "I don't see that happening."
Angelus patronized, "I'm sure you don't."
The door to the stairs opened, and all three men looked up to see Fred brining a cup of blood down. Angelus gripped the bars and leaned his body against it. He closed his eyes and said, "Fred. You smell all fresh and sweet."
He opened his eyes again and said, "You're a little boney for my tastes, but I can understand Wesley's little schoolboy crush."
Fred darted her eyes over to Wesley with surprise. Wesley looked away, and Gunn glared over at him. Angelus smiled and looked at Wesley. "Oh please, like it's a big shock. But in all honesty Wes, she's really not so sweet." He turned back to Fred and continued, "I hear you in the middle of the night. The things you say and do with Gunn. So dirty, Angel finds himself reaching under the covers even when he tries not to."
Fred looked properly disgusted, and Angelus said, "Or at least he used to. But that was a while ago, before you killed that old professor of yours."
Gunn broke in with, "She didn't
Angelus gave a little cheer and said, "Ha! I knew it! Gunn was playing the hero."
Fred and Gunn exchanged a look.
Angelus shook his head. "Too bad Fred's too much of a bitch to appreciate what you did for her."
Fred glared at Angelus and said, "The only bitch down here is the one behind bars."
Angelus smiled and said, "Oooh, feisty. We'll see how long you can keep it up when I'm raping you to death."
Wesley said, "Enough!"
Angelus agreed and said, "My blood if you don't mind."
Fred walked over and put the glass on a cart. She pushed the cart over to be in reaching distance of Angelus. Instead of taking the glass of blood, Angelus kicked the cart, which hit Fred's legs and knocked her forward onto the cart. Angel had her back against the cage bars with her body blocking his before either Gunn or Wesley could react. He said in Fred's ear, "Not pig's blood sweet heart, human blood or nothing."
Gunn held up his crossbow and said, "Let her go! You hurt her, and we'll kill you. You don't have anywhere to run, so maybe you're the one who needs a better plan."
Angelus sniffed at Fred's hair and let out a moan. He cupped her breast gently and played with her nipple with one hand, and used his other hand to choke her, cutting off her airway. He said to Gunn, "You seem to think I want to live. Kill me. That's fine. Better then getting my soul back."
Gunn shook his head and started to put his crossbow down. He said, "Okay, let's just talk about this."
Wesley shot Angel in the shoulder with a tranquilizer dart, and Angel let go of Fred, and grabbed the dart out as quickly as he could, but still passed out. Fred slumped a little and put her hands on her throat as she gasped in some air. Gunn went to her, put a hand on her shoulder, and said, "Are you okay?"
She looked shaken but nodded her head that she was. Gunn pulled her into a comforting hug, and Wesley couldn't stand it. He said to Gunn, "Never put you weapon down, that's an amateur's mistake."
Gunn glared at Wesley's back as he went up the stairs.
Once they were alone, Fred said, "So stupid of me to get caught like that."
Gunn let her go and shook his head. "It could have happened to any of us. Don't beat yourself up about it."
Fred said, "I
. I think I want to take a shower."
Gunn nodded and said, "I'll keep an eye on Angelus. You go ahead."
Fred went upstairs still somewhat shaky. She went through the lobby and up the stairs to the rooms. She passed Connor's room on the way to hers, and his door opened. He said, "Any news?"
Fred shook her head and told him an abbreviated version of what had happened. He said, "Are you okay?"
Fred nodded that she was and then continued to her room. Connor left his door open and turned back to Julie who was sitting on his bed. He said, "I guess there's no reason to stay up here if Angelus is going to be out for a couple of hours again."
Julie walked over to him, wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and gave him a passionate kiss. She said, "I can think of a couple."
Connor closed his door and followed her to the bed.
Half an hour later Connor and Julie went back down to the lobby. Lorne and Wesley were looking through books, and Julie went to join them. Connor heard Fred coming back down the stairs too, and looked up to see that she was in a new outfit. He went down to see Gunn in the basement. Gunn looked up and said, "Hey, where's your crutch?"
Connor held his foot up and said, "Feels better. It's mostly healed. Should be good as new by tonight."
Gunn nodded accepting that answer, and then looked back at Angelus passed out on the ground.
Connor said, "Hey, Fred told me what happened."
Gunn shook his head and said, "He had her
. And I just froze."
"You took Angelus' attention away from Wesley long enough for him to tranquilize him. Fred isn't hurt, so I'd say we won that round. But Angelus is right that we have no leverage. It's kind of a bad plan really. Why should he tell us anything?"
Gunn sighed and shook his head not knowing the answer. Connor said, "I can stay down here and watch him if you want. Fred was just coming back to the lobby a second ago."
Gunn thought about it for a few seconds. He did want to check on her, but he didn't want to leave Connor alone with Angelus because he might wake up. Fred won out in Gunn's mind, and he nodded. "Okay, but the second he starts to stir, you come and yell at us that he's waking up. I don't want you alone with him. You hear?"
Connor nodded and put out his hand for the crossbow. Gunn handed it to him and went upstairs.
Fred felt better now that she had new clothes on, but she could still feel Angelus' hands on her, and it made her skin crawl. She saw Wesley in the lobby and realized she hadn't thanked him. Wesley looked up as she was coming down, and he made the excuse of getting another book so that he could leave the room, not wanting to see her going down to get comfort from Gunn.
Fred followed him into the back office where they had spent many hours together doing research. She said, "Wesley?"
He looked up from his book surprised that she was coming to see him. "Yes?"
I just wanted to say thank you for saving me back there. I
It was stupid of me to get so close."
"Nonsense, anyone could make the same mistake."
She shook her head and said, "I guess I'm just rattled with all the twisted things Angelus has been telling us. Like about the way you feel
. about me."
Wesley saw the way she was looking at him, and couldn't deny himself any longer. He took the two steps that separated them, put his hand on the back of her head, and kissed her on the mouth with a need he had denied for over a year. Fred was too shocked at first to respond, but less then a second into it she kissed him back. They broke apart breathing hard and looked into each other's eyes.
Then Gunn's voice came to them from the main part of the lobby, "Fred?"
Fred and Wesley jumped apart, and Wesley immediately started looking at the book he had in his hand. Gunn was there a second later. He said, "Fred? How are you
Gunn looked back and forth between Fred's guilty look and Wesley's concentration in his book, and knew something had gone on. He said, "Am I interrupting something?"
Fred looked nervous and guilty at the same time and said, "Of course not. Just
Gunn glared at Wesley and said, "Yeah, I'll bet."
Fred put a hand on his arm and said, "Charles I
He jerked his arm away and said, "I was just coming up to check on you, but I can see you're doing fine. I'm gonna go take a walk."
Fred called after him, "Charles
Wesley called, "It's not safe out there without the sun."
Gunn ignored them both and went out the door. He hoped Wesley was right, because right about now he needed something to kill. Gunn pulled the stake out of his leg strap and stated walking away from the hotel. He only had to go three blocks before finding a group of three vampires. He attacked in a rage, and killed the first one before any of them even knew he had a stake in his hand. The other two put up a pretty good fight, but Gunn was able to kill them both within a couple of minutes. He stood there breathing hard as the dust settled.
He looked around and saw more vampires headed his way from two different directions. He knew he would be outnumbered, and ran back to the hotel. He made it into the door, and noticed that Fred and Wesley were still in the backroom. He shook his head hating the situation, and decided to go keep Connor company downstairs.
Connor could hear what was going on in the lobby and was worried about Gunn. He thought about going upstairs to go out with Gunn, but then he heard a noise from the cage. He turned and saw Angelus was sitting up and looking at him. Connor looked at his watch and wondered why Angelus woke up already when it had only been about half an hour. As if reading his mind Angelus held up the dart and said, "Pulled it out before all of it was injected into me."
Angelus threw the dart at Connor's chest, but Connor was able to duck in time. Connor stood and pointed the crossbow at Angelus. Angelus looked around and said, "Just you and me? How did you swing that one son? Did you have to kill everyone else?"
"You can hear them upstairs as well as I can."
Angelus spread his arms open and said, "Okay, so here I am. You have my undivided attention. What do you want to know?"
"How to kill the Beast."
"I don't believe you."
"But I can. You let me out, and I'll go kill him."
Connor smiled and shook his head. "Nice try, but no."
Angelus got an intense look. "You know Angel has lied to you Connor. You're not human. You're as much of a demon as I am."
"That's a lie."
"What did Holtz have to say about that?"
Connor looked away and didn't answer. Angelus continued, "That's right. He warned you about the demon that is always inside you, just like I'm always inside Angel. We could band together Connor. You could let your evil side loose, and together we could go on a rampage in the perpetual night. Let the Destroyer out to play, and let me out."
Connor shook his head. "No Angelus. I'm not letting you out."
Angelus sighed. "That's the real problem with you. You aren't pure good like Angel, and you aren't pure evil like me, you're somewhere in the middle. It makes both of us sick. He wants to not see the evil in you, but he does. The only thing that makes it better for him is being able to smack you around when you've let a little too much of your inner demon out."
Connor was losing his cool, and he could feel his emotions running rampant under the surface. He shook his head no, but Angelus could tell he was starting to believe him. He continued. "You think he doesn't enjoy it? You think he doesn't get off on spanking you? He loves hurting you, just like Holtz did. But all three of us are continually irritated by how quickly you break down and cry. What kind of a man cries because of a little spanking? But then you cry all the time. It's really sickening. Makes my stomach turn when I think about how often you have tears on your face."
Angelus imitated Connor's voice and gave a couple of fake sniffs and said, "They all died because of me Dad."
He went back to his normal voice and glared at Connor, "Of course they all died because of you stupid. Be proud of it! Don't run away and hide from it! Don't give in to Angel when he tells you to say it's not your fault. What would Holtz think about how quickly you break down and let Angel control you? Didn't he train you better then that?!"
Connor's stomach was churning, and he felt himself tearing up, even though it was the one thing he didn't want to do in front of Angelus. He turned around and headed for the stairs, wanting to get away, and wanting to tell everyone Angelus was awake. Angelus shouted in a stern voice, which sounded exactly like the tone Angel used when Connor was in trouble, "Connor!"
Connor stopped automatically half way up the stairs. Angelus said, "Get your ass back down here. Daddy's not done talking yet."
Connor felt the tears on his face as Angelus repeated the same line Angel had used right after getting back from the ocean.
Connor stayed where he was, unable to make the decision to go up or down. Angelus shook his head smelling the tears. "And here you are crying again. What a pussy. Really Connor, the only thing I think your good for is to eat. Angel never told you, but he's tasted you before."
Connor turned towards Angelus in confusion and horror, unable to look away or go upstairs. Angelus smiled and nodded. "When you were a baby. That's how I know you're a demon. Your blood is different. A lot like a Slayer's blood, but not quite the same. I can't wait to get loose so I can suck you dry. I enjoyed eating my family back in the day, but that was more about revenge. You I just want to eat because you taste good."
Connor thought maybe he was going to be sick, and the door to the stairs opened. Gunn walked in and saw the look on Connor's face. He looked over at Angelus who was smiling with satisfaction. Gunn walked down to Connor and said, "Go back to your room."
Connor just stood there in a daze. Gunn swatted Connor as hard as he could, and it was enough to get Connor out of his trance. He looked over at Gunn who said again, "Go up to your room."
Angelus said, "Yeah, go to your room cry baby. No one wants to see you breaking down again."
Gunn grabbed the crossbow from Connor and shot Angelus in the stomach. Angelus looked down at the arrow and said, "You missed."
Gunn shook his head, "No I didn't."
Gunn grabbed Connor's arm and walked them both up the stairs. Gunn saw Lorne and said, "Go keep an eye on Angelus, but watch out, he has an arrow. I need to talk with Wesley."
Lorne could see high emotions all around, and went downstairs, taking the crossbow from Gunn on his way.
Julie saw Connor had tears on his face and she said with concern, "Connor?"
He wiped at his face, angry at himself for letting the monster's words get to him. Gunn let go of Connor and called out, "Wesley! Fred! We need to talk."
Fred and Wesley came out from the back room. Julie came out from behind the front desk to stand next to Connor and put her hand in his. Gunn walked over to Wesley and got in his face when he said, "This plan isn't working! Go get Wo Pang and have him put Angel's soul back before it's too late."
Wesley shook his head, "Did you forget that Angel agreed with this plan? He wouldn't want us to put his soul back so quickly. He would want us to try everything possible to get that information out of Angelus."
"How do you plan to do that Wes?! He's flat out refused to help, and we have nothing he wants that we can use as a bribe! This was a bad plan from the start. End it now!"
Fred broke in, "Charles
Wesley talked over her, "You've let your emotions over the things Angelus said get the better of you."
"What about the things he said that were true Wes? What exactly were you and Fred doing when I walked in on you?"
Wesley got angry himself and said, "You leave Fred out of this."
"Why should I? You can't seem to!"
Wesley glared at Gunn and said, "Do you want to take this outside?"
Gunn said, "Why bother?" and punched Wesley in the face.
Wesley wasn't about to let it go, and lunged at Gunn, punching him both in the gut and the face. Fred yelled, "Stop it! Both of you!"
They both ignored her and tossed a couple more punches each. Connor stood there not sure what to do. He thought he should try to stop them, but they were the adults, they were the ones left in charge, so he didn't feel it was his place. When Fred saw they weren't stopping, she walked over to them to try and get in between them. She was behind Gunn when he pulled his arm back to throw another punch at Wesley. His elbow rammed into Fred's temple and knocked her back.
Fred fell to the ground. Wesley and Gunn both looked down at her. Gunn said, 'Fred I
Wesley said, "Are you alright?"
Connor kneeled down next to Fred and glared up at the two men who already looked guilty. He said, "Look what your fighting has done."
He turned to Fred who had sat up a little bit, and said, "Are you okay?"
She felt her head and looked up at Gunn reproachfully and said, "I think so."
Connor put a hand out to help her stand up. She took his hand and stood up. Connor glared over at Gunn and Wesley and said, "We're all playing into his hands! We're fighting amongst ourselves instead of working together as a team to fight him."
Connor turned around and stalked off away from them. Wesley called him, "Connor
Connor kept walking. Gunn said, "He's right. We need to stop and focus on the problem. Everything else can wait."
He turned to Fred and said, "Are you sure you're okay."
Fred wouldn't look at him but nodded yes. Gunn sighed feeling horrible and turned to Wesley. "Okay, so what else do you want to try to get information from him?"
Before Wesley could say anything, Connor came back into the room holding a butcher knife and a glass. Connor said, "We need leverage? Fine. Here it is."
Gunn held up his hands in a placating gesture and said, "Let's just calm down here Connor."
Connor took the knife and slit his left wrist along the vein to make sure it was bleeding profusely. Julie said with shock, "Connor!"
Connor set the knife down on the counter, and held his wrist over the glass. He watched as his blood spurted into the glass. He looked at Wesley and said, "You ask the questions and if he answers he can have this."
The room was silent for a few seconds. Wesley was the first to come to his senses and said, "It's worth a try. Let's go."
Gunn went behind the counter and got the first aid kit. He took it with him and followed Wesley and Connor downstairs. Fred and Julie went down as well.
Lorne went down and saw Angelus had pulled the arrow out of his stomach and was playing with it. Angelus took a good look at Lorne and then started singing an old Irish tune while thinking about some of the atrocities he had committed. Lorne winced at the images that were sent to him. After a few seconds Lorne said, "Keep it up cupcake, and I'll sing you the entire 'This One's For You' album."
Angelus frowned and stopped singing. Then he heard the fighting upstairs and said, "Well that didn't take long."
Very shortly the door opened, and the scent of Connor's blood filled the air. Angelus took a deep breath and said, "There's my boy."
He turned to Wesley and said, "How pathetic is it that the teenager figured out how to get answers out of me before you?"
Connor got as close to the cage as possible without being within Angelus' reach, and held the glass up with his wrist still spurting fresh blood into it. He said, "Toss the arrow out nicely, and tell us what you know about the Beast."
Angelus took another deep breath and tossed the arrow out at Connor's feet. He said, "It was 1789 when I first met the Beast."
Wesley said, "Prussia?"
Angelus nodded, "You did do your homework. There was a large massacre, so I followed the scent of blood, but to my disappointment there wasn't much left to eat. I met up with the Beast and found out the massacre was his way of attracting me to that spot. He wanted to make a deal with me. He wanted me to kill a group of powerful priestesses called the Svears. They could banish him, and they were magically protected from him, but not from me. I told him to screw off, because I'm not a team player. He was about to kill me for my answer, when the priestesses showed up, and banished him. I never saw him again until recently. I guess he just got back and picked up where he left off."
Angelus turned to Connor and held out his hand. "Blood. Now."
Connor gave Angelus a look of hate and tossed the glass full of blood against the far wall away from Angelus. It shattered, and the blood splashed and ran down the wall. Connor turned back to Angelus with a triumphant smirk. Angelus growled low in his throat and his eyes turned yellow. Connor spit out, "Smell it all day and go hungry."
Angelus glared and said, "Better watch it Connor. We all know how well revenge usually works out for you. The more you piss me off, the longer I'll keep you alive when I get free."
Wesley said, "You won't be getting free."
Gunn grabbed Connor's wrist and put some gauze over the wound while applying direct pressure to stop the bleeding. He said, "Come on. Let's get you fixed up."
Connor let Gunn lead him upstairs to get his wound cleaned up. Wesley turned to Lorne and said, "Can you watch him please while we check out this new information?"
Lorne nodded. Angelus said, "I doubt you can quit your petty squabbling long enough to get anything figured out. Nice fight with Gunn by the way."
Angelus turned to Fred who was standing on the stairs next to Julie and said, "I can see why you'd go for Wes over Gunn. What can you and Gun talk about really? He doesn't understand half of what you say. At least Wesley can keep up with your intellect. And he's not so bad looking. Of course the fact that he's been screwing Lilah for a few months kinda takes the shine off."
Fred laughed a little and said, "Lilah?"
She looked at Wesley ready for him to deny it, but he just looked embarrassed, and she knew it was true. She mumbled, "Oh
.. It's none of my business really."
Wesley said, "Fred
She headed up the stairs and said, "We really need to find out everything we can about the Svear priestesses."
Angelus made eye contact with Julie for a second, but she fled up the stairs before he could say anything to her. Soon Lorne and Angelus were alone again.
In the bathroom Gunn inspected Connor's cut. He said, "It really needs stitches."
Connor nodded and said, "Okay. Do it."
Gunn shook his head. "I'm not a doctor Connor. We need to go to the emergency room."
Connor shook his head and dug through the first aid kit to find the needle. He said, "Holtz sewed me up more then once. It won't get infected, and we'll need to rip the stitches out in about three hours or else the skin will start to attach to the stitches. But after three hours the wound will stay together and the stitches won't be needed."
Gunn just shook his head feeling bad for Connor. "I don't even want to know how many times you had to get stitches to figure that out."
Connor handed him a needle and some thread. Gunn took the needle. "I still don't like it. How do you know it won't get infected?"
Connor looked off into the distance. "The first time Holtz got a serious injury I was eight. We had both been injured by the same animal, and we had to stitch each other up. Holtz's wound got infected. A few days later I had to cut the infected skin away and burn the wound closed. Father said I would have to tie him down to do it, and ignore his screams."
Connor looked back at Gunn. "My wound had already healed, and it had been bigger to start with. None of my wounds ever got infected, and we didn't have any disinfectant in Quor-Toth."
Gunn nodded and threaded the needle with some black thread. He gave Connor three stitches on his wrist, and wasn't surprised when Connor didn't even flinch. He put some disinfectant on it anyway, and then bandaged it up. Once the first aid kit was closed back up Gunn half sat, half leaned against the bathroom sink, crossed his arms, and said, "What did I tell you to do as soon as Angelus woke up?"
Connor was sitting on the lid of the toilet, and just looked at his lap as he said, "You were gone when he woke up."
Gunn said, 'Was everyone gone?"
"Then why didn't you get someone else?"
Connor shrugged as if he didn't know the answer. Gunn sighed and asked, "What did he tell you?"
Connor shook his head not wanting to say, thinking somehow that might make it real. What if Gunn agreed?
Gunn put a hand on Connor's shoulder. "I got so upset by the things Angelus said I ran out of here alone and put myself in danger. I also started a physical fight with Wes which ended up hurting Fred. And I'm pretty sure whatever he said to you is worse then what he said to me. So before you go off the deep end like I did, tell me what he said to you."
Gunn could barely hear Connor's voice when he finally responded, "He said I'm a demon. He knows because Angel tasted my blood, and it's not normal. He
Connor shook his head. Gunn said gently, "He said what?"
"Angel enjoys spanking me, but hates that I cry and break down so easily."
Gunn felt sick and a swear word came out before he could stop it. Connor looked up at Gunn, and Gunn could tell Connor was expecting him to confirm the things Angelus had said. Gunn squatted down so they were eye to eye and said, "It's not true Connor. Angel hates spanking you."
Connor looked back at his lap, and didn't comment. Gunn said, "Hey."
Connor made eye contact again. "He hates to see you hurt, and hates it even more when he's the one who hurts you. I've seen his face when he's about to go do it. He looks like he's going to his own execution, and when he's done he look like he wishes someone would kill him and put him out of his misery. He hates it."
Connor's eyes filled, wanting to believe Gunn. Gunn said, "All of us here at the hotel hate it. But you know what we hate even more?"
Connor shook his head no. "The thought of you getting yourself killed if he didn't do it."
Connor felt the tears spill down his face and wiped at them angrily. Gunn continued, "None of us think you're weak, and neither does Angel. Someone who was weak would have never made it out of your childhood Connor."
Connor looked away and said, "Demons aren't weak."
"And demons aren't all bad. I don't think you're a demon Connor, but so what if you are? Lorne is, and he's as pure of heart as they come. Cordy was half demon, and her demon half helped heal you when you first got here. Demon doesn't equal bad, no matter what Holtz told you."
Connor gave a slight nod even though he didn't exactly believe it. Then he said, "Did Angel have my blood when I was a baby?"
Gunn looked away this time, and stood back up to lean against the sink. "Yes."
"How? Did he bite me?"
"Of course not!"
"When you were born we took you to the hospital to get you checked out. We didn't know it at the time, but there were some people there who stole some of your blood when you were taken to another room for testing. Then they put little drops of it in the pig blood Angel was drinking."
"So he was right. Angel did have my blood, and he does know what it tastes like."
"Maybe that part of it was true, but not the rest."
They were silent for a few seconds both caught up in their own thoughts. Gunn broke the silence with, "We wouldn't even be having this conversation if you had listened to me, and done what I told you to do."
Connor gave him a sincere, "I'm sorry."
"I'm sure you are, especially after the head trip Angelus put you on, which was the thing I was trying to protect you from in the first place. You're on thin ice with me Connor, and I don't think you wanna find out what happens when you break it."
Connor nodded in understanding. Gunn said, "Come on." and they both walked out to the lobby.
After half an hour of research, the team found out that some descendents of the Svear priestesses were alive and well, and living in LA. Wesley said, "I'll go check it out. Connor, do you feel up to coming along as backup?"
Connor was a little surprised that Wesley would ask him, but said, "Sure."
Gunn asked, "How's the ankle?"
"Not perfect yet, but as long as I don't kick anything tonight, it should be good as new tomorrow."
Gunn nodded and said, "Then you'd better not kick anything while you're gone."
"Okay." Connor was pleased Gunn was letting him go.
Wesley headed out and Connor followed. Julie called out, "Be careful."
By the time they got to the car Connor had had time to think about it, and he said, "You took me because you're worried about fighting with Gunn if he came."
Wesley paused for a second and then said, "Yes."
Wesley turned on the radio so they could listen to the news while they drove. They made it to the house the priestesses lived in without incident. When they pulled up, Wesley got a gun out of his glove box and tucked it into the back of his pants. Then he got out a dagger and handed it to Connor. "Just in case."
Instead of taking the dagger, he lifted up his pant leg and showed Wesley that he already had his own. Wesley put his dagger away and said, "Follow my lead."
Wesley knocked on the door, and when no one answered he tried it. It was open. The second they opened the door Connor was hit with the smell of human blood. Connor got out his dagger and whispered, "Something is wrong here."
Wesley got out his gun and started searching the house silently. They found bodies in the living room and kitchen. There were six bodies in all, three children, a mother, a father, and someone who looked like a grandmother. Connor touched the mother's neck and said, "No pulse but still warm. It's a recent kill."
"No. His scent isn't here."
Wesley checked the older woman and said, "She has a pulse."
He looked at her stomach wound and knew it was a fatal wound. He patted the side of her face and said, "Can you hear me?"
The woman's eyes fluttered and closed again. Wesley said, "Get me a glass of water."
Connor went and found a cup from the cupboard and got some water. Wesley put his arm beneath the woman's shoulders and pulled her up into a half sitting position. She groaned in pain. Wesley dipped his fingers in the water and flicked some in the woman's face. She shook her head slightly and opened her eyes.
Wesley said, "Who did this to you?"
A very weak voice came from the woman, "Who are you?"
"We're trying to kill the Beast and bring back the sun. We were coming to get your help when we found you. Did the Beast do this to you?"
"Not himself, but he had it done."
"How can we banish him, or kill him?"
"You can't banish him now that we're gone. We found references to killing him, but no solid answers. Passages about stabbing him with a piece of himself, but it's unclear."
Wesley said, "Is there anything else you can tell us, that will help us kill him?"
The woman didn't answer, and her head fell backwards as she lost consciousness again. Connor said, "Should we take her to the hospital?"
Wesley lay her back down on the floor and said, "No."
"Is already dead, even if she still has a pulse."
Connor shook his head no, but Wesley stood up and started searching the house for any information that might be useful. Connor watched the woman, and put his hand in hers. A few minutes later her breathing stopped, and he let it go. He went to find Wesley who was in the kitchen.
Wesley was collecting books and paperwork that were all over the kitchen table and counter. Connor looked around to try and help. He saw a little side table by the phone and he walked over to it. He saw six different photographs, all of the family at different times, and places. One especially fascinated him and he picked it up to take a closer look. It was a picture of the father holding his son who was about eight, which wouldn't be so odd in itself, but they were looking at each other and smiling with obvious love for one another. Connor put it down and his eye fell on a few cards. They were birthday cards for the father. He opened each one and looked at the words of love and happiness written by all three children. He looked into the living room at the dead bodies and felt his stomach turning.
Connor dropped the card and ran out the front door, ignoring Wesley when he called out his name. Connor stumbled into the yard and puked. Once he was done, he spit a few times, and then wiped at his mouth. Once he was sure that his stomach was done rebelling, he walked back and sat down on the front porch stairs.
Wesley had gone to the door and seen Connor throwing up. He sighed and went back into the house to get everything he thought he could use. A few seconds later he came out with a handful of books and papers, and closed the front door behind him. He looked at the back of Connor and tried to think of something to say. He went and sat on the steps next to Connor and once he saw Connor's profile he could tell Connor was crying. Wesley put a hand on Connor's shoulder, but Connor moved away from the touch.
Wesley put his hand down, and said, "I'm sorry you had to see her die."
Connor shook his head. "It's not that
.. family. They were happy."
Wesley didn't know what to say to make it better. "We need to get back. Let's go."
Connor stood up, and as they were walking to the car they ran into three vampires. Connor made sure not to kick while he was fighting, and still had no trouble killing two of them while Wesley killed the other. A few minutes into the ride Connor said, "What's the plan now?"
"Fred and I will look through the information here, and see what we find that is useful."
"What about Angel? Shouldn't we get him back now? I'm pretty sure after what I did he won't give us anymore information."
Wesley nodded. "About that
. I know why you did it, but it was an impulsive move, and it was detrimental to our goals. If you had given him the blood, he might have been more likely to help us out again if this lead hadn't paid off. By throwing the blood, you got rid of our leverage."
Connor sneered, "You didn't even have any leverage before I came up with the idea, so don't tell me how I handled it wrong."
Wesley's tone showed irritation as he said, "You may have come up with the idea, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have no say in its execution. We work a team. When one of us has an idea, we all work together to put it into action, but you acted on your own when you threw the blood. Until your father is back, I'm leading the team, so next time you think about interrupting a plan half way through, you ask me first."
Connor crossed his arms slouched down in his chair and muttered, "Whatever. You still didn't answer my question."
Wesley clenched his jaw and ground out, "Do not become impudent with me, Connor."
Connor rolled his eyes and looked out the window refusing to comment. A few seconds later Wesley said, "As soon as Fred and I look over this information, and verify what the priestess told us, then I will go to get Wo Pang, and have him put Angel's soul back."
Connor didn't comment, and the rest of the car ride was silent.
Gunn watched Wesley and Connor leave. He knew they would be gone for at least an hour with the travel time involved, so he thought it would be a good time to talk to Fred. He had had some time to think things over while they were trying to find information on the Svear priestesses, and he had a question he wanted to ask her.
Julie and Fred were looking in a book together when Gunn closed his book and said, "Can I talk to you in the kitchen for a minute Fred?"
Fred scrutinized Gunn, trying to see what kind of conversation was going to occur, but Gunn's face was unreadable. She nodded and started towards the kitchen as she said to Julie, "Just put a sticky note on any of the pages you think might be relevant."
Julie said, "Okay."
Once they got to the kitchen Gunn blurted out, "Things will never be the same between us again. We tried to get back what we had after
the professor, but it just
. It hasn't worked."
Fred looked away and said, "I've tried but
"But it just isn't working."
Fred's eyes filled and she said, "I do love you Charles."
Gunn put a hand on her face as he saw one tear fall, and wiped it away with his thumb. "I love you too, but it's not enough. When I walked in on you and Wesley
. You didn't look like you were hating it."
Fred shook her head no, not sure who she was trying to convince, him or herself. Gunn said, "Unless you tell me right now that you want to try to make it work still, I'm gonna go move my stuff into another room."
Fred was frozen. She couldn't get the words to come out of her throat. After a few seconds Gunn gave her a nod and let her go. He turned and walked out of the kitchen and up the stairs to their room. Fred stayed in the kitchen, sat down in a chair, and stared into space. She thought she should cry, but she couldn't get that to come out either.
Gunn walked into the room they had shared for over a year now, and didn't know where to start. He looked around and decided to start by picking a new room. He walked down the hall and opened a few different rooms. They all looked pretty much the same, so eventually just picked one. He had all his belongings in his new room before Wesley and Connor got home. Once he was done, he sat on his new bed and looked around feeling out of place. He took a deep breath, and went down to the lobby.
Wesley and Connor walked into the lobby. Fred looked up and said, "What did you find out?"
Before Wesley could answer, Connor asked, "Where's Julie?"
Gunn answered, "About fifteen minutes ago she said she needed a break from the reading, and went up to her room."
Connor turned and went up the stairs without saying anything else. Gunn called after him, "You okay Connor?"
Connor didn't answer. Gunn looked at Wesley who said, "He's angry with me, and most likely still upset about what happened at the house."
Fred asked, "What happened?"
Wesley walked over to the basement door and said, "Lorne, could you come here for a moment?"
Lorne came upstairs, and Wesley walked over to the lobby's counter. He spread out the books and papers he had taken from the house. He said, "When we arrived we found most of the priestesses slaughtered. One was still alive, and with her last words, she told me that while no one could banish the Beast except them. She also said we do have a chance to kill him. She said they had just recently found references to stabbing the Beast with a part of himself to kill him. I took all the relevant paperwork for us to look over."
Fred gave Wesley a happy look and said, "That's the first break we've gotten in a long time. Let me see."
She held out her hand, and he handed over the paperwork. She spread it out and started looking at it along with Lorne. Gunn said, "What about Connor? Why is he upset?"
Wesley sighed. "We were in the middle of gathering paperwork when he ran out of the house and vomited in the yard. I thought it was because of the dead bodies, and watching the woman die, but he said it had more to do with the fact that they had been a happy family. There were three children, a mother, and a father all dead along with the woman we talked to who was most likely the maternal grandmother."
Gunn nodded and asked, "Why was he mad at you?"
"I berated him for not giving his blood to Angelus."
Gunn glared and shouted, "You did what!"
Wesley glared back. "We finally found something we could use as leverage, and the boy tossed it away without a second thought to what that would mean for future interrogation."
Gunn just shook his head and said, "How can you be so heartless Wes?"
"How can you let your emotions blind you to the facts?"
Gunn almost punched Wesley again, but instead turned and walked away up the stairs to check on Connor. Lorne said, "You two need to find a balance so that we can all work together."
Wesley sighed, "You're right. I'm sorry."
"Don't tell me, tell him."
Wesley thought about that, and then started to look through some of the paperwork that was on the desk. Lorne started looking at it too. Then he said, "Should I go back down with the murdering psychopath, or would you like me to stay here and help look through paperwork. Personally I'm much more fond of option B."
Wesley said, "Angelus should be fine by himself for a little while. Angel made sure he couldn't get out."
Connor went to his room, and found Julie lying on his bed listening to some music. She sat up and said with a smile, "You're back."
Connor nodded and lay down next to her on the bed. She lay down as well, and rolled to her side so she was facing him. She said, "Hey, what's wrong?"
She put a hand on his chest and said, "What do you mean?"
Connor looked at her with sincerity, "I see these people
.. and their lives are
. Happy. I don't understand, and I can't relate. I saw a picture of a boy and his father, and they had so much love for each other, it was like I could touch it. I can't be like them. I'll always be messed up inside."
Julie put a hand on his face and said, "I don't believe that Connor. You can be happy. You can be like them. Can't you picture us together a few years down the road? Happy, married, and in our own home."
"Married?" Connor said in surprise.
"I'm not saying right now, I'm just saying try to imagine it in your head. There can be happiness in your future, just not in your past. Don't look at that picture you saw through the eyes of the boy, look at it through the eyes of the father, and that can be you."
Connor hadn't thought about that before, and it made him feel less hopeless. He tucked some of her red hair behind her ear and said reverently, "You're beautiful."
She lay her head down on his chest and he wrapped his arms around her. They lay like that quietly until they heard a knock at the door. Julie got off, and Connor sat up. He said, "Come in."
Gunn opened the door and said, "I just wanted to check on you. Make sure you're okay."
Connor gave Gunn a faint smile and said, "Thanks. I'm okay now."
Gunn looked unsure, but Connor sounded pretty sure about it. "Okay. You know where I am if you want to talk."
Connor nodded. "Okay."
Angelus watched Lorne go upstairs, and waited until the group was involved with their own conversation before he said, "It's safe now. Everyone's upstairs."
A few seconds later there was a noise by the door that had access to the sewer system. Angelus could see it from his cage, and he smiled as he saw it open up. Lilah was on the other side of it. She put her lock picking set away into her pants pocket as she looked around. She turned to Angelus and whispered, "How did you know I was there?"
"I could smell you. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they could smell you a few blocks away. You need a bath." He didn't miss the fact that she was holding a crowbar and an old looking book.
Lilah knew her appearance was disheveled, and it was true she hadn't bathed in well over a week, but that was a luxury she couldn't afford anymore. Her eyes kept darting to the stairs hoping no one would interrupt her. She said, "Angelus?"
He smiled at her, "The one and only."
She held up a book for him to see. "To kill the Beast you have to cut off his right horn, and stab him in the middle of the back with it."
He chuckled, "Why are you telling me? Go tell your ex."
Her eyes looked at the stairs again. "Why? He can't do the job. You're the only one strong enough, and I doubt even you can do it, but you're my best option."
Angelus shook his head, "Okay, but what makes you think I'll even try to kill the Beast for you?"
"Don't you want revenge? I know I do. He killed every single member of Wolfram and Hart. I am the only one left, and my existence isn't very pretty. With him out of the way I could at least go to a motel and wash up without worrying about getting eviscerated."
Angelus shrugged, "That is so not my problem Honey."
"You kill the Beast for me, and I'll make sure whoever took out your soul can't put it back."
Angelus thought about it and finally nodded. "That's a good deal. I'll take it. You always were a good business woman Lilah. So break me out, and I'll go get him for you."
Lilah took a step towards the cage, but then thought again and said, "Step back."
Angelus smiled at her and took quite a few steps away from the bars of the cage. She said, "All the way to the other side."
Angelus stopped smiling and kept backing up until he was all the way there. Lilah knew they would most likely hear the breaking metal upstairs, so she would only get one shot. She stuck the crowbar in the lock, and wrenched it down towards her feet breaking the lock with one hard push. She quickly took the lock off and opened the door to Angelus' cage.
Angelus was in front of her before she could blink. He grabbed her and turned her so her back was to his front. He said, "But I am kind of parched. How about one for the road?"
Angelus changed face, but then heard someone on the stairs. Wesley was there, and had a crossbow aimed at him. Angelus picked Lilah up, and tossed her at the stairs towards Wesley. He ran for the sewer entrance and didn't look back, as he weaved his way through the familiar maze of tunnels.
Wesley, Fred, and Lorne were all looking through the paperwork from the priestesses when they heard a loud metal sound coming from the basement. Wesley grabbed the crossbow from the counter and ran to the top of the stairs. He saw Angelus was free, had Lilah by the waist, and was about to bite her neck. Wesley aimed the crossbow, but then had to drop it as Lilah came sailing towards him. He was able to partially catch her, but it knocked him back onto the stairs with her on top of him, which stopped anyone else from following Angelus.
Wesley looked at her and said, "Lilah?"
She quickly got off of him and put a hand over her abdomen, but not before Wesley saw there was blood there. As he stood he said, "Did Angelus injure you?"
She shook her head. "It's from the Beast. It won't heal."
Behind Wesley at the top of the stairs Lorne said, "What's Suckyoubitch doing here?"
Lilah gave him a little smile and said, "Making sure the Beast dies before he can get to me."
Wesley looked down at the open cage and saw the crowbar on the floor. He said with astonishment, "You let him out?"
Fred who was behind Lorne said, "Are you insane?"
"No sweetie, just selfish."
Wesley grabbed her arm roughly and gave her a shake. He ground out, "Angelus wouldn't kill the Beast for you even if he knew how. All you've accomplished is making our situation worse!"
Lilah smiled at him and sounded a little breathless when she said, "Mmm
. Did you want to take this little argument to the bedroom lover?"
Wesley let go of her with an expression of distaste. Lilah smiled and then walked back down the stairs. She retrieved her book from the floor and then handed it to Wesley. He looked at it and said, "Rhinehardt's Compendium? What about it?"
She took it from him and opened it to the correct page and handed it back. He saw a picture of the Beast and couldn't believe his eyes. He looked at the cover of the book again and said, "But I've been through this book more then once. There was no mention of the Beast."
Lilah said, "My copy isn't from around here."
Wesley looked up at Fred at the top of the stairs and she said, "Another dimension."
Everyone went up to the lobby, and Fred and Wesley stood side by side at the counter so they could both read the page at the same time. Once they had both read the passage Wesley looked at Lorne and said, "Go tell everyone to come down please."
A few seconds later Connor, Julie, and Gunn all came downstairs along with Lorne. Wesley said, "We know how to kill the Beast."
Connor said excitedly, "How?"
Fred showed him the book and said, "Cut off it's right horn, and stab him in the back with it."
Gunn smiled, "Great. So we get Angel back, let Connor track the Beast, and we all attack and distract him long enough for Angel to kill it."
Wesley looked away towards the basement door and said, "Yes, well that would be the plan except
Connor saw Wesley's look and knew something was wrong. He ran to the door and looked down at the empty cage. He couldn't believe it and whispered, "He's out."
Wesley continued, "Angelus has escaped."
Lorne said, "I beg to differ on that one. He didn't escape so much as he was let out."
Lorne glared at Lilah and Gunn said, "You let him out?! Are you insane?!"
Lilah looked at Wesley and said, "Why is everyone asking me that?"
Connor walked up to her, and grabbed her by the throat. He lifted her a few inches off the ground and said, "You let him out?"
Wesley put a hand on Connor's shoulder and said, "Put her down."
Connor didn't look at Wesley, but shoved him hard enough to toss him a few feet away. Lilah was trying to get his hand off her throat and trying to talk, but nothing was coming out.
Connor never broke eye contact with her and said, "Every person he kills is blood on your hands."
He tossed her a few feet away from him, and she fell to the floor gasping and holding her neck. Connor turned and was about to head to the weapons cabinet, but Gunn was in his way. Gunn put a hand on Connor's shoulder and said, "You need to calm down."
Connor shoved Gunn a few feet away as well and yelled, "Don't you see what this means?! I have to kill him now!"
Connor walked towards the weapons cabinet and got out a sword. Wesley went to the counter and picked up the dart gun with the tranquilizers. Fred saw it and said, "The dosage might be too high for him."
Wesley aimed it at Connor anyway. Connor had turned around and saw that Wesley was pointing the gun at his chest. Connor shook his head. "Before he had his soul taken out, Angel told me that if things went wrong, he expected me to kill him. Angelus is responsible for more deaths then any other living vampire. He has most likely already made his first kill. Angel would want us to stop this. We have to kill him."
Wesley said, "No, we don't. We will capture him alive. Put the sword away, and get a couple of tranquilizer guns. You track him, and Fred, Gunn, and I will all follow you. Once we find him, we all work together to tranquilize him. We bring him back here, and put his soul back. While we're gone Lorne will go get Wo Pang, so he is ready to do the job as soon as we arrive."
Lilah had gotten up from the floor and said, "Angelus has a much better chance of killing the Beast. Why do you think I let him out before you put the soul back? The Beast will see Angelus as an ally and let him get close. He also won't be expecting Angelus to kill him, so Angelus has surprise on his side as well."
Wesley didn't turn to her, but said, "The only flaw in your plan is that Angelus won't kill the Beast. He doesn't want the daylight back."
Fred asked Lilah, "How did you even know Angel's soul was out?"
Lilah gave her a vague; "I have connections. You can't use powerful magic like that and not expect there to be ripples."
Gunn hadn't fallen when Connor pushed him, and he had been slowly edging towards Connor while Wesley was talking. Once he was a couple of feet away he said, "Connor, look at me."
Connor did. "I know Angel told you you'd have to kill Angelus if he got lose. But he also told you that Wes was in charge of the team, and that I was in charge of you. You remember that part of the conversation?"
Connor gave him a faint nod, and his expression showed he was a little less sure of himself. Gunn continued, "Wes and I decide when it's time to put Angelus down. Not you. You may be the only one strong enough to do it when it comes time, but right now is not that time. Wesley and I are in agreement. You track him, and we tranquilize him. No killing yet. Not if there's any chance we can bring him back. Put the sword back."
Connor looked back and forth between Wesley and Gunn a couple of times. He looked over at Fred, Julie, and Lorne as well. He looked at the sword in his hand, and slowly turned around and put it away. He turned and said, "Okay, we try it your way first."
Wesley let his gun rest at his side instead of aiming it at Connor. He turned to Lorne and said, "I'll give you the address, and instructions for getting in to see Wo Pang, and you can go get him."
Lorne nodded. Wesley went to the counter and started writing some things down. Gunn took the step that separated him and Connor and grabbed his upper arm. He started walking the both of them to the basement door. Gunn said, "We'll be downstairs waiting for you guys."
Wesley could tell Gunn was going to try and get Connor under control. He didn't know if it would work or not, but he wanted to give them a few minutes alone. He turned to Fred and said, "Please gather the tranquilizer guns, and make sure they are all loaded for us."
Next he turned to Julie and said, "Please show Lilah to the room I use when I stay here, so she can take a shower, and then make her something to eat."
Lilah opened her mouth to protest, and Wesley turned to her and said, "I want to speak with you when I get back. Don't make me hunt you down."
Lilah had missed him. It didn't matter how pissed he was; he still looked good to her. She nodded and said, "I'll be here."
Wesley continued to write information for Lorne while the others did his bidding.
Connor let Gunn pull him over to the basement door. Once he was on the stairs Gunn let go of him, and Connor went down first. Gunn shut the door behind them, and walked down too. Gunn walked over and stood directly in front of Connor. Connor was expecting a few swats and a lot of yelling for the things he had said and done upstairs. He had been angry and scared because Angelus was loose, and now that the panic was settling down, he could see that he had over reacted. But to his surprise Gunn pulled him into a hug.
Connor waited a few seconds before hugging him back. As soon as he did Gunn said, "You're not in this alone Connor. You say you have to kill him like it's all up to you, but it's not. All of us are gonna work together to do that if that's the plan, just like we're all gonna work together to bring him back here. You're not the only one who's scared right now."
Connor closed his eyes for a second and did his best to believe Gunn. Connor let go first, and when he did Gunn put his hands on Connor's shoulders and said, "You were out of line upstairs. When Wesley or I tell you to do something, we expect you to do it, and if you don't, I guess we're gonna have to tranquilize you or tazer you, because like your father said, you're not going to be out of control just because he's not around."
Connor's eyes were wide with surprise at that statement. He said, "Tazer?"
Gunn nodded with a serious expression on his face, and pulled a tazer out of his pants pocket to show it to Connor. He said, "I don't want to use it, but if I have to, I will."
Connor shook his head still not believing it and said, "But
.. I thought
Gunn guessed, "You thought if you got out of line I would spank you like Angel does?"
Connor nodded. Gunn put the tazer back in his pocket and said, "And how did you think I was gonna get you over my lap if you didn't agree to go there?"
Connor looked away thinking about it, and after a few seconds he said, "I wouldn't fight you over it."
"That's nice to hear Connor, but I want some insurance, because I've seen you fight Angel often enough over a punishment. Now I understand attacking Lilah. I kinda felt like doing it too after what she did, but you had no cause to attack me or Wes. The next time you push either one of us, you can count on a full blown spanking even if it's after you regain consciousness, but for now this will have to do."
Gunn put a hand on Connor's upper arm to turn him to the side, and gave him ten swats as hard as he could without doing damage to his hand. Connor stood still for it, and while it didn't exactly hurt, by the eighth swat it was uncomfortable. Gunn stopped and turned him back around to face him. He let go and said, "Start doing what we tell you to do."
There was a few seconds of silence while both Gunn and Connor thought about what the other had said and done. Then they heard a short knock on the door to the lobby, and a second later Wesley, and Fred came down holding six tranquilizer guns. Wesley asked, "Ready to go?"
Connor looked at Gunn who nodded that they were. Wesley tossed one gun to Connor, and two to Gunn. Connor headed for the sewer, and the three adults followed him as he tracked Angelus.
Connor led them through the tunnels, but before he even got three blocks away from the hotel, Angelus' trail led him up to the surface. Wesley realized if they were going to track on the streets, they would need a vehicle, because Connor was faster and had more stamina then any normal person, and the rest of them would slow him down. Wesley turned to Gunn and said, "Run back and get your truck. Connor can track faster if we follow by car, and if we catch Angelus, he can ride in the back on the way home."
Gunn nodded and set off at a run. Connor stood there twitchy and anxious to track. Gunn was back quickly and Fred and Wesley got in. Connor moved even quicker then before, and the truck followed.
Half an hour later, Connor stopped dead in his tracks, and the truck stopped behind him. All three adults got out ready for battle. Gunn went to Connor, who was standing there obviously perplexed. Gunn said, "What?"
Connor shook his head deep in thought. "His trail ends here."
Gunn did a three sixty, but didn't see Angelus anywhere. "Then where is he?"
Connor looked around as well and said, "Doesn't make sense. He would want to go where there were lots of people to feed on, but there's no one here."
Gunn looked back at Wesley. Wesley shook his head. "No. He wouldn't want to go where there were lots of people. He would want to go where he could do the most damage, and that isn't necessarily out here."
Connor looked horrified and said, "He doubled back
Connor was about to run full speed back to the hotel, but Gunn grabbed his arm and said, "Back of the truck."
Connor looked ready to bolt. Gunn said, "You go there without us, and Angelus kills you along with Julie. You know you have a better chance with all of us."
Connor yanked his arm out of Gunn's grasp and reluctantly said, "Let's go."
Connor jumped into the back of the truck while the adults got in the front. Gunn went 80 miles an hour all the way back, only slowing to make turns.
Lilah hadn't had a hot shower in a while. It was blissful. She felt better then she had in weeks. When she got out, she saw that Julie had left some clean clothes for her. She suspected they were some leftover from Cordelia. She was grateful either way. She looked in the mirror and smiled at her reflection. She looked in the medicine cabinet, and found a first aid kit. She put some medication on the wound the Beast had made, and then taped some gauze over it. She got dressed, dried her hair, and went downstairs to see what Julie had made her to eat.
Julie was in the lobby looking at one of the books. She looked up as Lilah came down and said, "I didn't know what you would want, but I made you a sandwich."
Julie pointed to the plate that was a few feet away on the counter. Lilah nodded and said, "Thanks."
Lilah wasn't all that picky, and she hadn't eaten yet that day, so she ate it quickly without any other comments. Once she was done she looked over at Julie and said, "So what's your story?"
"Why are you here? How do you fit into the group?"
"I'm Connor's girlfriend."
Julie gave Lilah a glare, "Why not?"
Lilah smiled and said, "No reason. Just curiosity."
A male voice from the front door said, "Haven't you heard curiosity killed the cat Lilah?"
Lilah spun around to see Angelus standing just inside the lobby doors. Lilah moved quick and grabbed the only gun that was on the counter. She took aim and shot. It was a regular gun, not a tranquilizer. Angelus jumped out of the way, but a few bullets still hit him. Lilah kept shooting at him until the gun was empty. She tossed it, and searched for another weapon, but didn't see any that weren't in the cabinet on the other side of the lobby.
Angelus stood up and looked down at the two bullet holes in his side. He looked at Lilah and said, "This was a nice shirt. That's gonna cost you."
She turned and tried to make it to the weapon's cabinet, but Angelus was in front of her before she even made it half way. He smiled at her, and she took an involuntary step back. He sniffed her and said, "Did you freshen up just for me? I'm touched."
She said, "I can be a good asset to you Angelus
He kept smiling while he shook his head no at her. He said, "Tell you what. Since you did let me out, I'll give you a ten second head start."
Lilah turned and ran towards the lobby doors as Angelus shouted, "One
Once she was gone, he looked over at Julie, who was looking at him with terror written on her face. He said, "I haven't decided on you yet. On the one hand, you really piss Angel off, so I kind of want to keep you alive just in case. But on the other hand, Connor is all doe eyed over you, so killing you would cause him pain which would be fun."
Julie didn't respond, but her face got even whiter then before, and her eyes rolled back as she fainted and fell to the ground.
Angelus gave her an irritated look and said, "Now you're pissing me off too. What kind of woman faints in this day and age? I'll be back for you."
Angelus left the hotel at a run and tracked Lilah. He caught up with her five blocks away. Lilah had just flat out ran, and hadn't tried to hide, knowing Angelus could smell her and track her no matter where she hid. Angelus caught her around the waist, and she screamed. He smiled as she struggled to get away. He said, "That's right sweetie, I always like the ones who fight back the best."
She did her best, but she was no match for him, and Angelus was too hungry to play around. He used one hand to tilt her head to the side, and bit her neck. Lilah kept fighting until the blood loss made her lose consciousness. As Angelus was drinking the last of her blood he heard tires screeching to a halt. He lifted his head up and looked over to see Connor, looking back at him.
Connor sat frozen for a second staring at Angelus in his natural state; vamped out, with blood on his face, and a dead body in his hands. Gunn, Wesley, and Fred all got out of the truck and pointed their guns at Angelus. Angelus looked over at Wesley and said, "She was kinda bitter for my tastes."
Time was in slow motion for Wesley staring at Angelus with his ex-lover in his arms. Without making the conscious decision to do it, he lifted both guns and fired repeatedly at Angelus.
Angelus held up Lilah and used her as a shield. Wesley was still shooting, but there were no more darts left in his gun. Angelus peeked out from behind Lilah and gave Wesley a nasty smile. "Did I hit a nerve Wes?"
Connor finally came out of his trance and jumped out of the back of the truck without his gun. He ran full force at Angelus, and leaned down slightly like a football player going for a tackle. He hit Lilah first, but knocked the both of them back quite a few feet, and Angelus let go of Lilah's dart ridden body as he fell.
Connor was sitting on top of Angelus and punching him in the face before Angelus had time to get up. Gunn yelled, "Get out of the way, I can't get a good shot with you in the way!"
Angelus got his bearings quickly, and grabbed both of Connor's fists, one in each hand. Connor struggled futilely to get away while Angelus held him tight, and kept holding both his fists in his hands as he stood up and pulled Connor to standing in front of him. Then father and son looked at each other for a second. Angelus went back to his human face, gave Connor a happy looking smile, and let go of one of Connor's fists long enough to punch the boy full force in the side of the head.
Connor went flying through the air and landed with a solid thud against a building which caused some of the bricks to crack. As soon as Gunn and Fred had a clear shot, they took it, but Angelus had turned and started running the other way, and they both missed.
Connor was a little dazed from the blow, and shook his head once. He looked over and saw Wesley kneel down beside Lilah and pick her upper body up in his arms. Gunn and Fred were firing still, but Angelus was too far away for them to hit now. Connor put a hand to the side of his head where Angelus had hit him and stood up. He saw Angelus was getting away, and knew he couldn't let that happen.
He staggered a couple of steps, and finally got his legs to work the way the way they were supposed to and broke into a run. He heard Gunn behind him yell, "You get your ass back here Connor! You stay with the group! Connor!"
Connor put a hundred and ten percent of his energy into chasing Angelus. Ten blocks away, Connor could tell he wouldn't be able to catch up, but he kept trying. Fifteen blocks away, Angelus suddenly stopped running and turned towards Connor with a smile.
Connor stopped abruptly too. Angelus said, "Let's have a training session son. Where's your weapon?"
Connor put up his fists and got into a fighting stance. "Don't need one."
Angelus laughed, and went for Connor. Angelus punched Connor in the face and stomach repeatedly while Connor tried to block and get his own punches in. But Angelus knew something that Connor was just now realizing. Angel had always held back when they were fighting.
Connor was shocked at the speed and force of the blows, and it was all he could do to keep his feet under him. Angelus gave him another particularly vicious blow to the head, and Connor stumbled backwards and fell on his ass. Connor quickly kicked out his feet to try and trip Angelus, but Angelus just stepped out of the way.
Angelus knelt down in front of Connor and said, "You lose boy. What would Holtz think? Is this the revenge he envisioned for me, after I ate his wife and son and turned his daughter? Wanna try again?"
Connor felt hatred rip through him. He got up and lunged at Angelus striking out with everything he had. He got in two solid blows, and then found himself sailing through the air again when Angelus kicked him in the stomach. Angelus walked over to Connor who was holding his stomach and spitting out some blood. Angelus pulled Connor up by his hair, and then pulled Connor up tight against his body so that Connor's back was to his front. Angelus held Connor's waist with one hand and tilted his head to the side with the other.
Angelus bit Connor's neck and started drinking. Connor's eyes went wide with shock and pain, and then he heard Angelus make a noise of pleasure in the back of his throat as he drank. The hair stood up on the back of Connor's neck as he recognized that sound. It was the same noise he himself made when he took the first bite of a really good piece of pizza.
Connor's eyes focused further away as he heard and saw Gunn running towards him about a block away. Angelus stopped drinking and licked the wound once. Angelus whispered in Connor's ear, "You taste so good it's hard to stop. But I'm not done playing with you yet."
Angelus saw Gunn was getting closer, so he let go of Connor and used his foot to kick Connor in the middle of the back, which sent him flying a few feet forward. Angelus turned and ran.
Gunn tried shooting Angelus one more time, but knew he was out of range. Gunn ran up to Connor, who had landed face first on the pavement, and who hadn't gotten up. Gunn was breathing hard, and his muscles were protesting running at full speed for the past fifteen blocks. He got down on his knees next to Connor, put a hand on his shoulder, and turned him over.
Gunn looked Connor over, and saw the wound in the neck, and some swelling and cuts on a couple of places on his head from the fight with Angelus. But what he noticed the most was the haunted expression on Connor's face. Connor pushed himself up to sitting, and looked at Gunn. He whispered, "That's not my father."
Gunn wasn't sure if Connor's tone was more shock or sorrow, but he could tell Connor was talking more to himself then anyone else. Gunn pulled Connor into a hug and said, "I know."
Connor whispered again, "Not my father."
Gunn held him tighter as Connor started to cry. A few seconds later Gunn saw his truck pull up with Fred driving. Wesley was in the back, still holding Lilah in his arms, and the back of the truck was littered with the darts he had taken out of her. Gunn stood and pulled Connor up with him. He said gently, "Come on."
Gunn kept an arm around Connor as they walked to the truck. Connor kept his head down and kept crying. Gunn sat in the middle, and kept an arm around Connor on the short ride back to the hotel. Once Connor saw it, he looked at Gunn and said, "Julie."
Gunn let Connor go, and Connor ran into the hotel to find her, while Gunn walked in behind him. Connor found Julie on the floor and suspected the worst. He ran to her, and touched her face as he said, "Julie?"
Her eyes fluttered open. He took a deep breath with relief and picked her up of the floor. She slowly became aware of what was going on around her. She looked up at Connor and said, "You're hurt."
Connor walked over to the round couch and set Julie down on it. He looked and felt her over for injuries as he said, "Did Angelus hurt you?"
She thought about it for a second and said, "I don't think so. I think I fainted."
Once Connor was satisfied that she wasn't hurt he looked at her and said, "Thank God you're okay."
Julie put both her hands on his face as she looked at his injuries and said, "He did this to you?"
Connor pulled away from her and stood up. He muttered, "We fought. I lost."
Outside, Wesley picked Lilah up, and got out of the back of the truck. Fred got out and watched Wesley. When she had first heard that Wesley had been sleeping with Lilah, she had been disgusted that he would lower himself to do something so intimate with her. But watching him now, Fred could tell that Wesley had had some kind of feelings for Lilah. She put a hand on his shoulder as he stood there holding and looking at Lilah. Wesley turned and looked at Fred. "I should have known
Should have realized what Angelus would try."
Fred shook her head. "It's not your fault Wes. Lilah's the one who let him out in the first place. She'd still be alive if she'd just come to you instead of going to Angelus."
Wesley looked back at Lilah and nodded once knowing Fred was right. They walked into the hotel and saw that Julie was apparently fine and sitting on the round couch. Wesley walked over and put Lilah on one of the regular sized couches. Julie saw Lilah and put a hand over her mouth before asking, "Is she
Connor nodded. "Dead. Angelus ate her."
Gunn looked at Wesley and said, "What now?"
Wesley thought about it, but before he could answer Connor asked, "Can Wo Pang put his soul back if he's not next to him?"
Before anyone had an answer Lorne came through the lobby door. He looked around and said, "Did you get him?"
Wesley answered, "No. Where's Wo Pang?"
"He was a little bit dead when I got there."
The room was silent for a few seconds. Connor looked at Gunn and said, "Angelus will be back. We need a plan so we can kill him when he gets here."
Gunn looked at Wesley. Wesley looked back at Lilah, and then at everyone else in the room. He said, "No."
Connor pointed at Lilah and said, "Wo Pang is gone. No soul, no Angel. He's made his first kill. How many need to die before you agree to put him down?"
Wesley shook his head. "Wo Pang isn't the only person who can put a soul back."
Wesley walked over to the counter and picked up the phone. He dialed a number and after a few seconds he said, "Buffy?"
The rest of the people in the room listened in on his half of the conversation.
"Yes, it's Wesley."
"In a bit of a bind actually, I need some help from Willow."
"When are you expecting her?"
"I see. Could you please have her call me as soon as she gets in? It's quite urgent."
"Thank you. Goodbye."
He turned to the rest of the group and said, "Willow is a witch. She has put his soul back before. She will call us in a few hours."
Fred said, "What should we do until then? Try to make this place secure so Angelus can't get in?"
Connor looked around and said, "It's too big. Too many ways in and out."
Wesley nodded in agreement. Lorne said, "Hey, how about the sanctuary spell?"
Everyone looked at him. He said, "Just like the one I used to use in my night club. It prevents demon violence. People can still beat the crap out of each other, but demons who try to get physical get knocked back on their asses."
Wesley asked, "That's a very good idea. Do you know how to do the spell?"
"I could make some calls and figure it out."
"Good. Do that now, and the rest of us will help you with whatever you need to get it done."
Lorne nodded and went to the phone to start making calls. Fred saw Julie staring at Lilah, and looking kind of sick. Fred said, "Hey Julie, why don't you come with me, and you can help me gather all the supplies Lorne is gonna need to do the spell."
Julie nodded and walked into the kitchen with Fred. Gunn said to Connor, "We need to get you cleaned up again."
But Connor was looking at Lilah, and said, "We'll have to cut her head off."
Gunn looked over at Lilah too and said, "Why?"
"He might have turned her."
Gunn shook his head, "He didn't have time."
"You don't know that."
"Connor, he was still
Wesley interrupted Gunn and said, "No. He's right. I'll do it."
Wesley went and got an ax from the weapon's cabinet, and took it down to the basement. He went back up to get Lilah, and as he picked her up, Connor started to head for the bathroom that was off the lobby. Gunn took Connor's arm and said, "No, an upstairs bathroom."
Connor put his head down, accepting what he thought Gunn was gonna do once they were alone. He let Gunn lead them up to Connor's room, and into Connor's bathroom. Gunn said, "Take your shirt off."
Connor took off the bloody shirt and tossed it in the hamper. Gunn took a good look at the bruising both on his abdomen, and his back. Gunn shook his head and said, "Damn."
Gunn got out the first aid supplies and said, "Sit."
Connor sat on the lid of the toilet seat. Gunn started with the wound on Connor's neck. He washed it, but some disinfectant on it, and bandaged it up. Next he cleaned the few scratches that were on Connor's head and chest. Connor held up his wrist that had been stitched up and said, "Might as well take these out now, it's been almost three hours."
Gunn nodded in agreement. He undid the bandages, cut one side of each stitch close to the skin, and then pulled the string out from the other side. Gunn was impressed with how much better the wound looked after just three hours. He put more medication on it, and put new bandages on it. Once he was done, he put the first aid kit away and said, "Go get a new shirt."
Connor went out to his room, got a shirt out of the drawer, and put it on. When he turned back around, Gunn was standing there with a glass of water and one of the painkillers the doctor had prescribed for him when he had broken his ribs. Connor shook his head no. "I don't need any
Gunn cut him off, "No. No arguments. You are going to take this, and then you are going to lie down and rest. I'm gonna go get you some food in a second, and you are going to eat it, and then you are gonna take a nap and sleep through dinnertime. Later tonight when you wake up, we'll see how well your body has recovered, and I'll decide if you need any more medication. Then you and I are gonna have a talk about the fact that you totally ignored me when I told you not to go after Angelus by yourself. Is that understood?"
Connor looked over at his bed and said, "How can I sleep knowing that he's out there? I should put all my energy into capturing him or killing him. I don't have time to worry about me or how well my body is healing."
"The medication will help you sleep, and you do have the time to rest, because I'm making you. The sanctuary spell will take hours, and we're not going to go after Angelus until we hear from Willow. That means we have at least three hours to wait, and you're not that good at just waiting around. Take the pill."
Gunn held them out to Connor again. Connor mumbled, "I don't want to."
"I don't care. Take it."
Connor looked at Gunn for a few seconds, and Gunn gave him a level look, fully prepared to meet the challenge if Connor was going to continue arguing about it. Connor sighed and took the pill out of Gunn's hand. He swallowed it with the water, and handed the glass back to Gunn.
Gunn nodded and said, "Good. Lie down, and I'll be back in a few minutes."
Connor walked over and lay down on top of the covers and stared up at the ceiling. Connor heard Gunn leave, and as Connor lay there he replayed the last confrontation with Angelus in his head again and again.
Fifteen minutes later Gunn came back with a tray. He pulled Connor's desk chair over next to the bed, and sat down. He put the tray on Connor's bed, and picked up one of the sandwiches for himself. Connor got one too and started eating. Connor looked over at Gunn a few times and finally said, "I never realized it, but every time I've fought with Angel, he's held back. Every single time."
Gunn swallowed and said, "I'm not surprised. He's your dad. He loves you, he doesn't want to hurt you."
Connor looked down at his food. He mumbled, "Yeah."
They ate quietly and once the food was gone Gunn picked up the tray and set it by the door. He went and looked at the books on Connor's shelf and picked one out. He went back to the chair and sat down and started to read. Connor had lay back down, and now looked over at Gunn with confusion. "What are you doing?"
Gunn kept his eyes on the book; "They don't need me for the sanctuary spell. I'm here to make sure you stay in bed, and to make sure you don't get any unwelcome visits from evil family members."
Connor was surprised that Gunn was staying, but he also felt himself relax more into the bed. Soon the effects of the medication mixed with the food, and the emotional and physical trauma of the day sent Connor into a deep and healing sleep.
Wesley lay Lilah down on the cement floor in the basement. He walked up and closed the basement door. He stood on the top of the stairs and looked down at her for a few seconds. He slowly walked down the stairs, and picked up the ax that he had left resting at the foot of the stairs. He walked over to her, but instead of raising the ax and cutting off her head, he got down on the ground next to her and sat on his knees. He tucked some of her hair behind her ear, and said, "I guess talking is out of the question now."
He got no response, but in his mind he could hear her voice saying, "You know that talk wouldn't have gone the way you wanted anyway."
He closed his eyes and asked, "And how would I have wanted it to go?"
Now he could hear and see Lilah in his mind. She said, "You would have wanted me to be sorry. You would have wanted me to apologize for letting him out, and for not going to you with my information in the first place."
"But you wouldn't have apologized."
"I wouldn't have."
Lilah gave him a smile, "Because Lover, that's not the kind of relationship we had."
"It wasn't a relationship."
"You've still got a dollar bill in your wallet that says different."
Wesley opened his eyes and looked down at Lilah again. He leaned down and kissed her forehead. He said, "I'm sorry."
He stood up and raised the ax in the air. He paused again and heard Lilah say, "What's the problem? You didn't love me. You've always loved Fred and we both know it, and she's looking more and more available now."
Wesley nodded in agreement. Lilah's voice in his head said, "The real problem is that you didn't save me. And now that I'm dead, you'll never get the chance. But the truth is, that no one could. Some of us can't be saved
.. especially from ourselves."
Wesley brought the ax down with force, and cut her head off in one clean chop. He turned away from her and got some rags to clean the ax with. Then he got one of the blue plastic tarps that was down there, and wrapped her body and head up in one. He cleaned up the floor, and left her body in the basement lying next to the cage. He decided that once they got the sun back, he would take her out to a secluded place in the wilderness, and bury her. But for now she would have to wait.
He walked upstairs to see how the spell was going. He saw Gunn taking a tray of food up the stairs and looked over at Fred. She said, "He's gonna stay with Connor for a few hours, and let Connor sleep while we do the spell."
Wesley nodded and said, "How is the spell going?"
Lorne was still on the phone and furiously writing things down. Julie was next to him looking at the list, and going over to the nearby desk to pick out the things she recognized. Fred said, "Pretty well so far. Lorne is pretty sure we will be able to do it."
Fred paused for a second and said, "What do you think Willow will say?"
"I think she'll come and help us. She's been Angel's friend for years now, and she's just basically a good and helpful person."
"Can she help us fight the Beast?"
"She might be able to, but from what Buffy said, they are in dire straights themselves right now, and need Willow to help them."
Fred looked disappointed but nodded. Wesley said, "But we do need help fighting the Beast."
Fred smiled, "Isn't that kind of the reason for trying to get Angel back
well that and because he's our friend
Wesley smiled back, "Yes, but I'm thinking we need help to fight the Beast either way. He is a separate problem from Angelus right now. If we can't get Angel back, we still need to kill the Beast, and while I know Connor is good in a fight, I don't know if he will be good enough to defeat the Beast, even with our help."
"Are you going to ask Buffy to help?"
Wesley shook his head. "She's caught up with her own apocalypse. But there is another Slayer."
Fred looked around to see if anyone else had heard and whispered, "You can't mean Faith
. She's in prison for murder, and she doesn't exactly like you from the things you've said."
Wesley shrugged, "Enemies can turn into friends when they have a common goal, and from what Angel has told me, time has changed Faith."
Wesley got his cell phone out and looked through the phone book in the government pages to find the number for the prison Faith was in. He called and set up an appointment to see Faith the following morning since visiting hours were over already for the day, and it took four hours to get there by car. He hung up and turned to Fred. He said, "I'm going to eat a light dinner right now, and get some sleep. I'll set my alarm, and get up in the middle of the night. I'll drive over to the prison and be there to see Faith at nine am tomorrow. With any luck, four hours later she'll be back here with me, and then the whole team can go after the Beast with or without Angel. When Willow calls, please explain the situation to her, and when she arrives, see how close she needs to be to put Angel's soul back. Maybe we don't even need to capture him. But either way the sun is coming back tomorrow."
Fred nodded in understanding and said, "I'll wake you if there is a problem with the spell, or if Willow says she can't help, and I'll let everyone know what the plans are."
Wesley smiled at her, grateful that she understood what he would need her to do without him having to explain. "Thank you."
Fred put a comforting hand on his shoulder before walking back over to Lorne.
Two hours after Connor fell asleep, Gunn decided to go check on the others and see how the spell was going. He put his book down, picked up the used food tray off the floor, and left Connor softly snoring on his bed. He got downstairs and saw that Lorne and Fred were in the middle of mixing up ingredients, and Julie was standing there apparently trying to be helpful. Gunn put the tray down and said to the group, "How's it going?"
Lorne looked at him with a smile, "Peachy."
"How much longer until it's done?"
"About half an hour."
Gunn looked around and said, "Where's Wes?"
Fred explained the situation to him, and Gunn nodded, "That's a good plan if he's able to get her."
Julie asked, "How's Connor."
"Asleep. I'm hoping the food and the rest will give his body a chance to heal. He's gonna need all his strength tomorrow if we're going after the Beast and then maybe Angelus."
Gunn turned back to Fred and said, "Wesley is right, the Beast is the bigger problem, and he needs to be stopped first so we can get the sun back. I think we kind of lost track of that after Angelus got loose."
Fred nodded and there was an awkward silence between the two of them. Fred turned back to helping Lorne get things ready for the spell, and Gunn asked Lorne, "Do you need me to help?"
Lorne gave him a task, and the four of them worked together for the next twenty minutes. Soon it was ready, and Lorne performed the spell. Once he was done the group looked at each other and Julie asked, "How can we tell if it worked?"
Lorne said, "I guess we should try it out."
Lorne looked around the room and said with a disappointed sigh, "And I'm the only non human in the room."
Lorne said to Gunn, "You wanna be the other guinea pig?"
Gunn shrugged, "Sure."
Lorne said to Julie and Fred, "You girls stand back."
Fred and Julie took a few steps back. Lorne looked at Gunn who was standing with his hands at his sides waiting. Lorne muttered, "Here's hoping this hurts me more then it hurts you."
Lorne pulled his fist back and tried to punch Gunn in the chest. Before his hand could make contact, Lorne's whole body was flung backwards a few feet. He landed hard on the floor, and passed out.
Fred and Gunn both went over to him. Fred said, "Lorne?"
Gunn said, "Looks like it worked. Let's get him to the couch."
Gunn picked up Lorne's upper half, and Fred picked up his legs. They carried him to the couch and set him down. Gunn said, "How long will he be out?"
Fred said, "He said it varies from demon to demon, but usually about ten minutes is average."
Gunn nodded. Fred turned to Julie and said, "I don't know about you, but I'm starved."
Gunn almost made a comment on how much food 'his girl' could put away and still look like a bean pole, but caught himself in time. She wasn't 'his girl' anymore.
Julie nodded and said, "I'm hungry too."
Fred looked at Gunn. He said, "I already ate. You two go ahead, I'll stay here with Lorne."
About ten minutes later Lorne and Gunn walked into the kitchen and found Fred and Julie talking about the positives and negatives of staying in a dorm as apposed to an apartment. Fred asked, "How are you feeling Lorne?"
Lorne had a hand up to his head and said, "Like I got hit by a truck."
Lorne got out an icepack and held it to his head. Then he got out the alcohol and mixed himself an extremely large drink. He took it with him and said, "I'm gonna go sleep it off."
Once Lorne was gone Gunn said, "I guess I'm gonna head upstairs too."
Before he could get out of the kitchen the phone rang. Fred knew they were expecting Willow to call, so she got up and answered the phone, and Gunn hung out to see who it would be. Fred said, "Angel Investigations. How can I help you?"
"Hi, this is Willow, I'm calling Wesley back."
Fred said, "Hi Willow, my name is Fred, and Wesley already went to bed, but he wanted me to explain the situation to you."
"Okie dokie, explain away."
Fred thought about that for a second not sure where to start. Willow said, "Hello?"
"Sorry, I'm still here, I just was trying to think of the best place to start. I guess the short version is Angel's soul is out, and Angelus is on the loose. We were hoping you could reinsoul him."
"Angelus? Wow, that is a problem. Of course I'll reinsoul him for you."
"Great. Can you do it from there, or do you need to be close to him to do it?"
Willow paused a second thinking. "I doubt it will work from this far away. I don't have to be right next to him, but I wouldn't try to do it if we were in different cities. Don't want to take any chances when you're messing with people's souls."
Fred smiled thinking Willow sounded very nice. She said, "So would you be willing to come here?"
"I'll be there by tomorrow afternoon. I have some things to wrap up here in Sunnydale, but as soon as I'm done, I'll drive over there."
"That would be wonderful. Thank you very much."
"No problem, I'm happy to help."
"Is there anything you need us to get ready for you? Any supplies you may need?"
Willow was quick to answer, "All I need is to get close enough to him to do the curse."
"Okay then. Do you need directions?"
"Nope, Buffy has them."
"Then I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
Fred looked at Gunn and said, "She's coming."
Gunn smiled and said, "Well there's some good news. Does she need us to do anything to get ready?"
"No. We just need to make sure Angelus is close by when she does the curse."
"I doubt he's gonna leave town. Its perpetual night, and he wants to hurt all of us."
Gunn said, "I'm gonna head upstairs to sit with Connor."
Fred nodded and said, "Goodnight."
Gunn lost his happy feelings remembering that they wouldn't be going to bed together anymore. He said, "Yeah." and walked up the stairs, happy to have someplace to go other then his own empty bed.
Julie and Fred stayed up for the next couple of hours talking about college experiences. Around ten at night, Fred suggested they go to bed, and Julie followed her upstairs. Fred went to her room, and looked around noticing that the room looked kind of empty without Gunn's things there. She sighed and got ready for bed feeling sad.
Julie went to her room and got ready for bed, and then went to Connor's room. She raised her hand to knock on the door, but thought better of it, and just opened the door a crack. She saw Gunn sitting next to the bed holding a book and looking at her. She looked at Connor who was asleep on the bed. Gunn got up and walked over to her.
Julie whispered, "I just wanted to check on him, and say goodnight if he was awake."
Gunn whispered back, "He'll probably be out for a couple more hours. You'll have to talk to him tomorrow."
Julie accepted that with some disappointment, and went to her own room to sleep.
Connor woke up groggy and needing to urinate. He opened one eye with a squint and wondered why the light was on in his room. He looked over and saw Gunn sitting next to his bed, and remembered why. He muttered, "Gotta pee."
Connor got up and went to use his bathroom while Gunn put his book down and looked at his watch. It had been about five hours since he had made Connor go to bed. Everyone else in the hotel was asleep, and Gunn was getting pretty tired himself.
Connor came back out and looked warily at Gunn. Gunn got up, walked to Connor, and started looking him over. He checked his wrist, his head, his neck, and his chest and back to see how well his various injuries were healing. Connor stood still for it and waited to hear the verdict. Gunn was amazed at how much better Connor looked. He wasn't all the way healed by any means, but his injuries looked a couple of days old instead of a few hours old.
Gunn said quietly, "How do you feel?"
Connor thought about it for a second. He thought if he said he was feeling better, Gunn would most likely spank him. But if he said he wasn't feeling better, Gunn would most likely make him take another painkiller, and then he also probably wouldn't let him go do things with the rest of the team until he said he was feeling better. Connor sighed dejectedly and said, "I feel a lot better."
"Does your head hurt?"
"Are you just saying that, because you don't want any more painkillers, or is it true?"
Connor was glad he had picked the truth so he could sound a little indignant as he said, "It's true."
"Okay, good. Everyone else is asleep, so let's go to the basement."
Connor made a face that showed his distaste for that plan, but walked out the door and headed for the basement with Gunn following. They walked quietly through the silent hotel, and when they made it to the basement Gunn shut the door behind them. As soon as Connor got in the basement he could smell Lilah's body. He saw the blue tarp that was beside the cage, and walked down next to it. He looked over at Gunn who had come to look at it as well. Connor asked, "Did Wes cut off her head?"
Gunn nodded and looked around, not really wanting to talk to Connor, or spank him for that matter, with Lilah in the room. Dead or not, she would be distracting to both of them. He saw the door to Angel's bedroom, which was also in the basement and said, "Come on."
They walked over and went into Angel's bedroom. Gunn turned on the light and shut the door behind them once Connor got through. Connor walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge of it. On the way he noticed Angel's hairbrush sitting on his dresser, and he felt his stomach doing familiar flips just seeing it. Connor looked away from it and over at Gunn. Gunn sat down next to Connor. He put an arm around Connor's shoulders and said, "Wes has a plan, and it's a good one."
Connor looked over at Gunn with surprise and hope. "Tomorrow Wes is going to go visit Faith the vampire Slayer. He's going to hopefully bring her back here, and then you are going to track the Beast, and we are all going to go kill the Beast together. Then tomorrow night, Willow will be here, and she is going to reinsoul Angel. She doesn't have to be in the same room or anything, so we may not even have to capture him for it to work."
Connor said, "A vampire Slayer like Buffy?"
Connor thought about it, getting used to the idea and said, "Dad said Buffy was stronger then him."
"Faith is too."
Connor nodded and said, "That's a good plan."
He gave Gunn a little smile and said, "It's a really good plan."
Gunn squeezed his shoulder and said, "I think so too. And now that we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, it's time to talk about what you did tonight."
Connor looked down at his lap and waited. Gunn said, "Did you hear me tell you to come back?"
Connor didn't know why Gunn was asking when he already had to know the answer. Connor quietly said, "Yes."
"Why didn't you?"
Connor shrugged. Gunn sighed and took his arm off Connor's shoulders and leaned his elbows on his knees. He said, "How many times have you been spanked since the Beast appeared?"
Connor's face turned red and he kept his eyes on his lap. Gunn could barely hear the answer of, "Three."
"Three times in two weeks isn't a good track record Connor."
Connor said, "Tell me about it." in a tone that showed he knew even better then Gunn did that three times in two weeks was way too much.
"Before the Beast showed up it had been over a month right?"
Connor thought about it for a second and said, "Almost. There was an incident with Angel's car, but other then that yeah."
Gunn was quiet for a second thinking about it. "You know what that says to me?"
Connor shook his head no. Gunn continued, "It says that under normal circumstances you've gotten to the place where you're settled into your life here. You're not trying to run away, you're not trying to fight Angel at every turn, and you've become a good member of the team. If the Beast had never shown up, you'd be half way through another month free from punishment."
Connor darted his eyes over to Gunn and saw honesty there. He found himself happy with this assessment even if he didn't know that he himself believed it. He looked back down at his lap and gave a non committal, "Maybe."
"Now we need to work on your behavior when the circumstances aren't normal, because around here, that happens a lot."
Connor didn't respond. Gunn looked over at him and said, "You have to learn to make your head override your emotions. When something is making you angry, you tend to let your emotions take control, and that's when you do stupid stuff like trying to chase down the Beast and Angelus alone. And when you're too emotional to let your head stay in control, then you have to let the people who love you step in and do it for you."
Connor could hear the truth in what Gunn had said. He looked over and said, "It sounds easy enough when you say it, but in the moment
Gunn nodded, "I know, I've been there. But I think with time you will be able to do it."
Connor was pleased in spite of himself to hear that Gunn had faith in him. Gunn patted Connor's knee and said, "I hope that both the Beast and Angelus are taken care of by the end of the day tomorrow, but things might not go the way we hope. I need you to know that I'm gonna be there for you, both for the good stuff and the bad. Because your dad isn't the only person who cares about you and wants to see you grow up to be a good man. And you can't do that if you're dead. So
Gunn stood up and unbuckled the belt he was wearing. "
I'm gonna spank you for going after Angelus like you did."
Connor felt his pulse and breathing go up a notch as he watched Gunn taking his belt off. Connor stared wide eyed at the belt and shook his head no. Gunn walked over to Angel's desk, and pulled the chair out to the middle of the bedroom. He sat down and said, "Come here."
Connor couldn't keep his eyes off the belt and stood up, but instead of going forward he backed up a few steps and shook his head no again. Gunn said, "I thought you said you wouldn't fight me over it."
Connor's voice sounded strained as he said, "I'm not."
Gunn waited, but Connor made no move to get any closer. Gunn said, "Do I have to tazer you first?"
Connor shook his head no quickly. Gunn sighed and said firmly, "Then come here right now."
Connor backed up all the way to the wall and shook his head no again. Gunn looked closely at Connor and thought he looked scared. It wasn't a look he saw on him very often, and while Gunn could understand being unhappy about a spanking, he didn't think fear, especially when Connor was much stronger then Gunn, was normal. Gunn said quietly, "What's wrong. Why are you scared?"
Connor looked away and found himself close to tears already. He kept thinking about what Angelus had said to him about being weak, and about letting a spanking make him cry. But seeing the belt in Gunn's hand brought up memories of Holtz, and he found them hard to push away since this would be his first spanking from Gunn and he had no idea what to expect. Gunn said, "Connor?"
Connor swallowed hard and kept his head down as he walked over to Gunn. He lied, "I'm not scared." as he put himself over Gunn's lap.
Gunn was confused by this behavior, and could actually feel Connor shaking over his lap. Gunn shook his head knowing something was very wrong. He said, "Stand up."
Connor stayed where he was and said, "Just do it, and get it over with."
Gunn physically pulled Connor's upper body off his lap, and made him stand up with him. Gunn said, "No. Tell me what's wrong."
Connor kept his head down. "It's stupid."
"Tell me anyway."
"The belt. Holtz used to
. It's stupid. Just do it. I'm not afraid."
Gunn looked down at the belt in his hand and remembered what Angel had told him about the things Holtz had done to Connor. Gunn glared at the belt and tossed it on the bed. He pulled Connor into a hug and said, "You are afraid, it's not stupid, and I won't use it."
Connor took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Gunn's eyes scanned the room for something else to use, because he was pretty sure that his hand would break before Connor was in enough pain to want to avoid the same situation in the future. His eyes fell on the hairbrush and knew it was what Angel had used before. He patted Connor's back once and let go of him. He walked over to Angel's dresser and picked up the hairbrush. He went back to the chair, sat down, and looked up at Connor.
Connor nodded once in acceptance and put himself over Gunn's lap again. Gunn brought his arm up high, and brought the brush down as hard as he could on Connor's jeans. Connor lay still and quiet, even though it did hurt a little. His jeans offered quite a bit of protection, and Gunn wasn't hitting as hard as Angel generally did. Connor was very focused on not breaking down because of the things Angelus had said.
After twenty swats and almost zero reaction from Connor, Gunn stopped and sighed. He also was thinking about what Angelus had said, and he knew Connor would be fighting his emotions. He hadn't really planned on taking Connor's pants down, but he was worried that he was doing some serious damage to his rear, and that Connor was just working extra hard at keeping it in. He said, "Sorry Connor, but I think the jeans need to come off."
Connor groaned and said, "I don't think we need to do that
Gunn set the brush down on Connor's back and used both hands to reach under Connor and unbutton his jeans. Connor was a little startled by this, because Angel would normally make him do it himself, or he would be moving too quick for Connor to really register what was going on. Once they were unbuttoned, Gunn yanked Connor's jeans down to his knees.
Connor closed his eyes willing himself not to think about what was happening. Gunn pulled Connor's underwear down long enough to see that the skin was just pink, and not red or bruised the way Gunn was thinking it could be after the swats he'd given Connor. He put the underwear back in place, picked up the hairbrush off Connor's back and started spanking again over the underwear.
Connor could feel the difference, and sucked in some air, which made a hissing noise, at the increase of pain. Gunn gave a slight nod to no one, thinking this was more like the response he had been expecting. Forty swats later Connor was shaking with the effort to be still and not cry. Gunn stopped again and pulled down the underwear to check the skin on Connor's butt. It was getting to be more of a red color now. Gunn could feel Connor shake, and knew he had to be working hard at giving no reaction.
Gunn left the underwear down with the elastic resting at the crease between Connor's butt and thighs. He patted Connor's back and said, "The next time you go running off after something, and I tell you to stop and get back with the group, what do you plan to do?"
Connor took a deep but shaky breath and said, "I'll listen to you, and come back to the group."
"I hope so."
Gunn brought the brush down on Connor's bare behind and felt Connor's body jump slightly in reaction.
Connor's butt already hurt, but with no protection from jeans or underwear, the pain got more intense, and turned into more of a burning sensation. He couldn't keep such tight control over his body anymore, and he started to squirm around, trying to get his butt away from the pain. After about ten more swats, Connor couldn't stop himself from yelling out, "I said I'd listen to you! Gunn, please! Please stop! I'm sorry, okay? I won't do it again! I'll do what you tell me next time! Pleeeeeeease!"
Gunn did stop. He looked at Connor's skin. It was a deeper red now, but there was no bruising. Gunn decided Connor had had enough. He knew Connor had already suffered quite a bit because of what he had done. He believed this spanking had been necessary, but he also thought it was more about proving to Connor that he could and would do it, then anything else. He seriously doubted Connor would go after Angelus alone anymore after what had happened, with or without the spanking as a reminder.
Connor took a few deep breaths to calm down. He hadn't cried, but he knew he couldn't take much more without crying. His butt was very painful now, and he really wanted the whole thing to be over, but he doubted it would be.
Gunn pulled Connor's underwear back into place and said, "Okay, I'm done."
Connor almost didn't believe it when Gunn put a hand on his arm and helped him to stand up. Connor looked up at Gunn with confusion and said, "Really?"
Gunn gave Connor a displeased look and kept a hand on his arm when he said, "Did you mean what you said, or were you lying?"
Connor said quickly, "I meant it."
Gunn gave him a curt nod and said, "Good. Then fix your pants."
Gunn let him go, and put the hairbrush and chair away. He went to the bed, picked up his belt, and put it back around his waist. He looked over at Connor who was standing still, obviously lost in his own thoughts, and rubbing at his butt now that his jeans were back in place.
Gunn pulled Connor into a hug, and Connor hugged him back. Gunn said, "Okay Connor, you have a clean slate again, but I expect you to keep your word. If things go badly tomorrow, and you disobey me, or go running off on your own, I'm gonna be doing this again, only more of it. You got that through that thick skull of yours?"
Connor smiled slightly, having heard similar lines too many times to count over the summer he had lived with Fred and Gunn. He let go of Gunn as he said, "Yeah I got it."
Gunn let him go and said with a smile, "Or maybe I should say that thick hide of yours, because my arm is worn out."
Connor shrugged and said with a small smile still on his face, "Feel free to skip it next time, if it's too tiring for you."
Gunn laughed at that and said, "Not gonna happen little man."
Gunn put an arm around Connor's shoulders and headed them towards the door. He said, "Let's go get some sleep. I want you to take another painkiller, with a glass of milk."
Connor frowned and groaned, "I don't like them."
"I know, but they help, and you need to be rested for tomorrow."
Connor reluctantly said, "Okay I'll take one."
Gunn patted his shoulder in approval as they left the basement and headed upstairs.
(Feedback makes me happy.)